Literature tell us that students’ life at university is a time when they are confronted with various developmental challenges such as separating from their family, setting up their own social networks, coping with academic requirements, career uncertainty, identify confusion and interpersonal problems.
All of these challenges impose a threat for our young students to prepare for a productive adult life. Furthermore, increasing numbers of students, the unstoppable phenomenon of globalization, and influx of information technology are unconsciously influencing the students of Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) to ‘isolate’, and lose touch with traditional practices such as consulting the spiritual head, talking to the elderly, and seeking help from the college community in times of difficulty. Therefore, the need for efficient student support system at RUB campuses to ‘hold’ and ‘empower’ the students in times of difficulties is much pronounced now then ever.
In line with this rational, Paro College of Education and Samtse College of Education in collaboration with three Higher Education institutes from the Europe Union developed a project aimed towards enhancing mental health, counselling, and wellbeing support for the RUB students, and vied for funding under the Erasmus Plus programme. The project got selected for funding under lot 2018.
As a result of this project, a ‘happiness & wellbeing centre’ will be established at nine constitute colleges of RUB. These centres will embody a hybrid model of contemporary theories, and practices in field of counselling, guidance, and wellbeing integrated with Bhutanese philosophy of Gross National Happiness. The project will assist individual colleges in capacity building through human resource training, and purchase of selected resources. A The project is co-funded by Erasmus Plus Programme.
Beyond this, the project will also initiate collaboration and integration amongst the organization working in services related with enhancement of insight, skills and knowledge of young people. In particular, the project will conduct meetings, seminar, conference and capacity building of the Agencies responsible of empowering young people in Bhutan. The project will also offer these Agencies access to a Digital Platform, a virtual platform which will serve as an integrated communication space for Bhutanese professionals working in the field of career, counselling and wellbeing.